Have you asked yourself recently “How are my presentation skills?” or “How do I feel when presenting?” How do you answer?
- Yeah ok…
- Nervous as
- I love it
- Horrible, just terrible
- Ok, but I can’t control my nerves
- I can’t even bring myself to present
Are you answering truthfully?
Graduate recruitment processes have a variety of presentations you may need to undertake, whether it is in an assessment centre or 1:1 situation. UCGR wants to give you a few examples:
- You will need to present on an unknown topic that is given to you
- Present on yourself
- A case study presentation either in a group or individual scenario
The purpose of this topic is to share with you what we, as assessors look for when we are scoring you, tips on how to present effectively and how to use a presentation to your advantage during a recruitment process.
What you may get scored on:
Your communication skills (this is about your ability to speak clearly in a logical fashion without mumbling, using slang words or losing your train of thought, this is not about accents).
The tone of your voice- we all sound different, but ensure that you are not speaking in a monotone fashion as you will put your assessor to sleep. Use different tones and pitches, allow for enthusiasm and excitement to come through in your voice. This engages and excites any listener.
Your ability to process the information you have been presented with and then be able to tie that back into your presentation. Don’t forget, even if you do a stellar job on your presentation, if it’s nothing to do with the topic- you’re not going to score well.
Your ability to come up with innovative or creative ideas and solutions where relevant. For example, if you are asked to develop a marketing strategy or create a new product, then use your creativity skills where possible and allow your ideas and vision to shine through and be evident.
If you can engage the audience and take them on the journey with you- you are already half way there. A way to do this is to set the scene/ idea early in the presentation with passion. Ensure you present each step in a logical and structured way so that each step is logical and takes you to a natural conclusion. Don’t jump back and forth between points in order to get your point across.
If you state you were successful at something or learnt something, ensure you explain the scenario or meaning behind it. For example don’t just say ‘it was great learning about leadership skills’ and stop there. Explain what you learnt about leadership and what this means to you.
If you are in a group scenario, ensure that your group understands the direction and who is responsible for what. Even if it’s not your role to ensure this, make sure it’s done as a poor group presentation reflects on everyone in the group, not just those who didn’t do as well.
Tips on how to present effectively:
Ensure you consider your body language- how you are sitting/ standing, what you do with your hands and how your engage the audience with visual engagement. To summarise- always face front on, don’t fidget with anything you are holding and don’t put your hands in your pocket. Ensure you look at the audience and include everyone in the room by looking around frequently, don’t just focus on a few people.
Speak clearly with passion, presence and a loud voice. People would prefer a loud presentation over a soft voice.
Allow your personality to come through, smile, make a few jokes (if appropriate) and try to stay as calm as you can, a nervous presenter often makes the audience anxious.
Practice your presentation as much as you can- sometimes you may only have a few minutes, however memorise and prepare as much as possible.
Ensure if you are in a group scenario that you do present, even if it’s just 1 minute and your team members have 1 minute as well, do not stand back and let the others present on your behalf. Always remember to be involved.
As mentioned earlier- your presentation content needs to be well structured, with a logical process that shows thought and process has been put into the preparation.
If you are speaking about yourself ie: a presentation on you, then ensure it is engaging, you speak with heart and passion and you take your audience on a journey. This is an awesome opportunity to present on something which you know about, so make the most of the opportunity to present on yourself, if you are given it.
Ensure you are prepared to answer questions about your presentation- that’s where research helps!
How to use a presentation to your advantage during a recruitment process:
Presentations can be a great opportunity to allow your strengths to come through, as it means you aren’t in direct competition with those around you, even if you are in a group scenario.
As you will have time to prepare (sometimes just a few minutes or sometimes a day or two prior to the presentation), ensure you put in the adequate effort, prepare and memorise as much as possible.
Often in group scenarios or face to face interviews, it’s hard to let your passion show if you are trying to be serious and also pay attention. Therefore presentations will allow you to show your passion, enthusiasm, ability to engage and communicate- use this opportunity to your advantage.
If the presentation is about you, speak with heart and passion and take your audience on a journey. Pick a topic that speaks to any audience and let people see your personality.
Undercover Grad Recruiter has now given you a strong base to platform presentations on, the final step is to practice- especially if you don’t like, are nervous about, have never ever done or simply can stand presentations. Get up in front of your friends, family or peers and present. Only practice will improve your skills and belay your fears, so take every opportunity you can to improve your skills.
UCGR strongly recommends watching videos on influential presenters to learn about tone of voice, body language, how to structure sentences and how to engage with the audience. Watch a few videos, over and over if it helps and take note of what you resonates with and how you feel this can help you. Following this, implement this into your practice and keep a mental note for the next time you need to present. One of our favourite influential presenters of our time was Steve Jobs- get on you tube and watch some of his presentations and you will see why.
Presentations are a big part of corporate life, so get started early on improving your skills and it will take you a long way to success early on in your career.
Good Luck and we look forward to hearing your feedback!
UC Grad Recruiter.